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The Kentucky Derby is happening in May. Check out this article to learn more about what handicapping is and how it applies to betting on horse races.

Kentucky Derby Betting: What is Horse Racing Handicapping?

The 147th running of the Kentucky Derby is fast approaching, expected to be held this coming 1st of May 2021, Sunday. Fans are getting more excited as the date approaches, and so are the bettors who are already planning which horses they’ll be betting on. What kind of strategy do these bettors have?

Some of the horse racing bettors rely merely on the name of the horse. Others rely on the best betting sites. But the expert bettors tend to mention their “handicapped horses” or picks when betting. But what exactly does that mean? How do bettors choose their picks in handicapping? Keep on reading and find out here.

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What is Handicapping in Horse Racing?

Handicapping is quite a known term for experienced bettors of any sport, including horse racing. It refers to a more strict and systematic approach in picking horse bets. For casual bettors, they tend only to choose the famous ones or base their choice on the horse’s assigned number in the race. But for handicappers, they go beyond that.

Handicappers know that casual betting won’t give them much more certainty on betting horses. They don’t rely on luck, but instead, they study the races. They read past performances of the potential horses and analyze those. They also observe the charts and leaderboards to find any indicators to give them an edge for winning.

TVG’s selections have analyses of the horses and guides on handicapping basics to help those who are enthusiastic about becoming a handicapper. Its picks and predictions are based on critical observations by looking at the history of performances and victories. You can check them out as a guide for betting.

In short, handicapping is the art of predicting the outcome of the race by critical analysis of the horses. This will be through thorough research of available information about them, including history and achievements, and coming up with a winning pick.

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Why is Learning Handicapping Important in Horse Racing Betting?

Knowing how to handicap in horse racing is important when you’re planning to bet on a horse. Learning and understanding handicapping can give you the edge in horse racing. This can give you more accurate predictions. Therefore, you can have a higher chance of winning horse racing betting.

Although just like any other type of research, doing this can be tiring if you’re a beginner. The process of knowing every available data about the horses is indeed tedious and time-consuming work. But eventually, you will become comfortable doing this, and things will be smoother, easier, and faster.

Handicapping can help you decide on your bets intelligently. This way, the probability of your horse bet winning is higher than just solely relying on the benefit of luck. Take time to study the horse race, and you might get the price of the work you have done.

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What are the Methods in Handicapping?

There are actually many methods for picking the winning horses, depending on the bettor. They either regularly check for updates in the Daily Racing Form or use other services that can provide the horses’ history and past performances. However, most of the bettors have these four common denominators that they look up— speed, form, class, and pace.

  • Speed refers to the attempt to predict which horse is the fastest. Bettors need to check the horses’ earned speed ratings from their past races.
  • Form tries to determine which horses are in shape.
  • Class means the horses’ skill level and performance in their races.
  • Pace seeks to foresee the early speed on the recent start of the race. This predicts who will take the lead in the early stage.

Bettors use different strategies to determine which element they should prioritize first. There are some who like to focus on speed as their main element, but some also set pace as theirs. They will then only use the other three factors as support or back up for their main information.

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What are the Tools in Handicapping?

Past performances (PPs) are the most crucial handicapping tool for bettors. These PPs explain all of the horses’ necessary information in a race, including detailed data about their most recent races. Bettors can compare each horse’s performance to another to form and form an opinion about which horse they will bet on.

There are also serious bettors who use other services, such as The Sheets and Thorograph. They tend to be more expensive, but it shortens the long process of handicapping. 

Race charts are also part of the beneficial tools in handicapping. While PPs focus on the horses, race charts focus on the race itself. You can analyze race charts to form a scenario on how the race was run. They can be purchased at some services.

kentucky derby handicapping


These pieces of information about handicapping are only the basic ones. There is much more to it when you actually perform it with passion and perseverance. Your betting chances are much higher once you learned how to properly handicap. Learn now and start handicapping horses for this coming Kentucky Derby 2021.

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